One of the UKs most respected fine dining restaurants, and a leading light of the Bristol culinary scene - Casamia is set to close after nearly 25 years. In a statement on Instagram, posted Monday 30 May, executive chef Zak Hitchman said: 'For reasons out of my hands Casamia will be closing permanently on August 20th.'
He adds: 'I don't know that a restaurant quite like this will exist again, and we won't be going out quietly, so come and see it before we close.'
First opened in 1997 in the Bristol suburbs at Westbury-on-Trym, Casamia was originally run by Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias' parents, Paco and Sue. The Sanchez-Iglesias brothers worked in the kitchen throughout their teenage years and eventually took the restaurant on themselves in 2006, transforming it into one of the most ambitious, exciting, progressive restaurants in the country. A Michelin star followed in 2009, and Casamia has been a fixture at the top of the UK's fine dining pyramid ever since.
Talking to BigHospitality, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias explained the decision to close, saying that the pressure of rapidly increasing costs had made the restaurant 'financially unviable'.
'As far as I'm concerned Casamia is the best it's ever been,' he says. 'It's super creative and free. Part of the reason we are closing is that we don't want to compromise on anything or stop moving forward.'
'With margins so tight, every table counts. Losing a few covers per service is often the difference between making a profit and making a loss.'
Though Casamia will be gone, the Sanchez-Iglesias family has plans to turn the space into a new, more casual restaurant that harks back to Casamia's original days as a neighbourhood trattoria. Peter Sanchez-Iglesias still oversees operations at Michelin-starred Paco Tapas in Bristol, as well as Decimo at The Standard Hotel in London, and will also look after the new restaurant which the family hopes to open by Christmas.
The closure of Casamia will leave Bristol with just two Michelin-starred restaurants in its portfolio - the aforementioned Paco Tapas, and Bulrush in Kingsdown. Still, there's plenty more excitement happening in the city - a healthy handful of Bristol restaurants featured in our Top 100 UK restaurants for 2022, and you can explore our full Bristol restaurant listings right here.